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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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If you are out of topic ideas …

People who need a quick idea or have writers block and have to write a blog article (maybe they do it for a living), would probably consult another blog where the wrter provides some slightly-inspired-but-okay ideas where you can make the most of the suggested topic, or change it into something the writer wants.

I was not aware of some websites which do one better. Some websites run a page that is nothing more than a blog topic generator. I was intrigued. Some websites generate these short lists for a fee. A free sample at one website (who will remain nameless to prevent embarrassment, since they are one of those places that charge a fee) allowed me to enter three keywords. OK. So, I went to a news site, and chose three keywords that caught my eye: Brexit, flap, and death. The results were hilarious: “10 things your competitors don’t want you to know about death” was one topic that stood out in my mind. Another was: “10 Signs you should invest in death”; or what about: “8 Best blog articles about Flap”? There was one good one in 10 suggested — perhaps someone can write: “The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Brexit”.

I have never been all that great a fan of blog topic suggestions by others or of blog topic generators. I tend to write when I think I have an idea. I then write and see where it takes me. Something about these generators go against the grain for me.

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In Memoriam: Gene Wilder, at 83

wilder_no_meme

The much-memed image of Gene Wilder in his role as Willy Wonka in the 1971 film.

Today, it was reported that actor and meme victim Gene Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at age 83.

I’ve looked up some things about the meme from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Turns out that the image is from a scene where he reveals a little bit of his chocolate manufactouring process to some enthusiastic children. A few years ago, social media made a meme of this image, attaching condescending statements on all possible topics, in what became known as the “Creepy Wonka” or “Condescending Wonka” meme. A “Condescending Wonka” twitter account garnered half a million followers, even though the account had little else going for it but its name.

Don’t forget however, that Wilder had appeared in some of the biggest comedy movies in the 1970s, many produced by Mel Brooks, such as Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein; and he also appeared in the Woody Allen comedy Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Were Afriad to Ask.

Mel Brooks, Jim Carrey, Ricky Gervais, and Russell Crowe, among others, each sent their regards within minutes of the sad news, via Twitter.

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The popularity of “Child Poverty”

Tweet Over the past decade or so, this human rights cause “flavour of the month” called “child poverty” has been in style as something to say and for human rights groups and politicians to champion. Before that, we only had “poverty”, until sometime in the late ’90s, when someone discovered “child poverty”, and now it’s all […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 012: Right-wingers

Tweet Ted Nugent or “The Nuge” is a hard rock/psychedelic guitarist whose musical career dates back to 1963. He has made his stance against drug and alcohol abuse part of his right-wing activism. He is an ardent Republican supporter, and is strongly in favour of gun rights. It is said that his stance against substance abuse […] […]

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OOC Recipients 012: Movie Makers

Tweet David Cronenberg, a filmmaker otherwise known as the King of Horror, or the Baron of Blood, was essentially a Canadian filmmaker, and didn’t delve into Hollywood much. Most of his films were shot in Ontario, with notable exceptions. Films like Madame Butterfly and Eastern Promises were shot in China and England respectively. Rabid and Shivers […] […]

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From coronation to Elbowgate: the extremes of Trudeau coverage

Tweet By world standards, the Parliamentary melee that happened this past week is pretty tame, but what has now become known as Elbowgate brings down our insanely high expectations of Justin Trudeau, fuelled by the media. The melee was nothing, Trudeau apologized, and sensible people are moving on. But in essensce it is a shock that it […] […]

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Famous teetotalers 011: Muhammad Ali

Tweet Muhammad Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, was a lot of things to people living in the 1960s and 1970s. Apart from being thrice awarded the world championship in boxing as a heavyweight (1964, 1974, and 1978), he would be a draft dodger and peace activist, a devotee of Islam, and pop culture icon. Like most elite […] […]

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OOC Recipients 011: Sigers and Chanteuses

Tweet In the early 1980s, Manitoba-born Loreena McKennitt was busking in Toronto in order to finance her first album, Elemental. It led to a career in performing Celtic music that would sell 14 million records worldwide over the course of her career. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004. That was a few years […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 010 – Howard Hughes

Tweet Howard Hughes (1905-1976) — Was a multi-talented business tycoon, one of the world’s richest men in his day. He was an aviator, an aircraft engineer, inventor, and filmmaker. It would take a long time to go through his accomplishments, but the founding of Trans-World Airlines (TWA) has to count for something. He made some successful […] […]

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OOC Recipients 010: You would want your kids to look up to them

Tweet Marc Garneau — Kids all want to be astronauts. Or firefighters. Or race car drivers. Most kids stand a better chance at being one of the latter two. Engineer Marc Garneau got the first one: he went on three NASA Space Shuttle flights. And in going full circle with this, he is now, after a […] […]

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Famous teetotalers 09: Musicians too

Tweet Rumor has it that Prince, otherwise known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, is teetotal, although maybe it is hard to believe. All Google searches for Prince in association with drugs led to Saudi sheikhs, cocaine and beheadings (not kidding), so I can only believe what the rumors say. Actually, it is a little […] […]

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OOC Recipients 08: Rushing to the top

Tweet For the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band, first place is The Beatles, second is The Rolling Stones, and third place is the Canadian group Rush (24 gold, 14 platinum). The members of Rush have worked hard to reproduce their album sound in their concerts, so Rush concerts have been known […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 08: Those who are good at what they do

Tweet Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was the only famous scientist I could find that was teetotal by repuation. Einstein was a moderate drinker, and a heavier smoker. Feynman reportedly used to be a moderate drinker also, no reason why not, but on a trip in Brazil he felt a compulsion to drink alcohol in the […] […]

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OOC Receipients 07: Entertainers

Tweet While Connie Kaldor won Juno awards on three occasions (1989, 2004, and 2005) for her work on Children’s albums, she is better known for her amazing talent in folk music and live performances. She has made 14 albums to date, not including her children’s albums. She became a member of the Order of Canada in […] […]

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Retail sales attention grabber

Tweet I was driving to Oakville, and stopping at Tim Horton’s, and this bicycle store sale sign caught my attention. I have heard of “door crashing sales” before, but the Mississauga branch of Cyclepath were not just shooting the bull, they meant it. Due to what appears to be a serious accident, the entire front window […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 07: Philosophers

Tweet Henry David Thoreau – Author of Walden and Civil Disobedience, among scores of other books, this 19th-century Harvard-educated American philosopher and writer stands at the top rank of American Literature and philosophy. His connection with nature and desire for a balanced life led him to write “I believe that water is the only drink for […] […]

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The latest on Lolita Nation

Tweet The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients: Comedians

Tweet Dan Akroyd was a comedic actor who got his start in Saturday Night Live, then he and John Belushi formed The Blues Brothers which went from a blues/comedy act to a full-length film. Among the films he starred in, were Ghostbusters, Trading Places, Ghostbusters II, and the satire Dragnet. He was made a member of […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 06: Very expressive people

Tweet Jim Carrey – Probably one of the funniest comedians alive, the star of the Ace Ventura sequels, The Mask, and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has had a few ups and downs in his private life, including battling depression, he has sworn off all meds, booze, and even coffee, and has been that […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 05: News anchors

Tweet Lloyd Robertson (OOC 1998) — He was six years an anchor for CBC news in the early to mid-seventies. He later moved to CTV, and had been anchor there until 2011 when he retired. He has been news anchor longer than Walter Cronkite, and is in fact the record holder for the longest-serving anchorman in […] […]

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